September 27, 2010

Road Tripper

Living 550 miles away from “home” (or at least 550 miles away from where my parents live) hasits ups and downs. It’s not very easy to run over to my parents’ house to do laundry, or eat their food,but that’s been good at helping me be more independent. Flying home only works if there’s an airport inboth towns; otherwise it’s just not worth it. So that leaves driving for nine hours on a stretch of highwayI’ve travelled back and forth on my entire life. It might sound like a pretty boring drive to make byyourself, but every trip is its own adventure. For instance, my last trip home.

Now, I’m not a big fan of going to the bathroom in a bunch of roadside unknown toilets, it’s verydisconcerting. So I try to avoid having to use them too many times in any single trip. This can be prettytricky given the fact that I either have a very weak bladder or a very small bladder. I should do someresearch on this, because if I could somehow exercise my bladder to strengthen it or somehow stretch it,I would totally do it. I’m not sure what kind of exercises would help the bladder though. Anyway, mystrategy to avoid using the bathroom on road trips too often is basically a planned dehydration schedule.I don’t drink much right before leaving and I try to ration the liquids I bring with me, along with a solidintake of salted sunflower seeds. This tends to work great. I normally have just one bathroom stopalong the way when I fill up the gas tank, which is marvelous.

Okay, back to my trip. Things were going just right. I stopped in Vegas, had a GREAT time, andfilled up the car when it was time to head out. I went to the bathroom before leaving and set out for theHoover Dam. I seem to have miscalculated my liquid intake on a hot Vegas morning; I was SUPER thirsty,so I had a couple glasses of water. Even with the fact that I went to the bathroom before leaving, I forgotabout the dam traffic. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t smooth sailing. By the time I gotthrough the security checkpoint and meandered around to the Arizona end of the dam I wasthinking, “hmm… I wonder if I should stop and use the porta-potty before moving on to my parents’place? Na, I’m fine, I can make it.” This is not a great decision when there is not only dam traffic, butconstruction on the other side of the dam. It was slow going. By the time I got back to divided highway Iwas drowning internally.

I remember travelling with my family when I was a kid and pulling off to the side of the road inthe middle of the dry, flat desert and just urinating next to the car with my parents standing as privacyguards. As an adult, that just doesn’t seem to be an option. But it did get me to thinking about how niceit would be, in this instance, to relieve myself, ANYWHERE. I was getting kind of desperate and makinglists of bizarre options I might have. Flagging down a passing RV, an empty bottle in my car, jumping thebarbwire fence and hiding myself behind some rocks… that was basically the whole list and none of theoptions seems very appealing.

Finally I saw a turnoff up ahead of me for an unpaved washboard road leading to some hills thatdidn’t look too far away, so I decided to go for it. I started heading down the dirt road, realizing that thewashboard effect was not very enjoyable to my bladder, and that driving as slow as I had to on the roadit might take longer than I wanted to make it to the hills. It was probably about 15 minutes later (or maybe just 5, I was kind of distracted at the time) when I couldn’t wait any longer. It wasn’t a horriblespot, not too secluded if anyone else was on the dirt road, but plenty far away from the highway. I gotout and scrabbled up a rocky hill in the Arizona heat and stopped about ¾ of the way up next to somemedium sized rocks. Walking back to my car I felt lighter, but dirtier.

So, things I learned from my trip – never trust the Hoover Dam, and always keep toilet paper or Kleenex in your car. There are always lessons to be learned from a good road trip.

August 25, 2010

Short and... Disturbing **

The other day I was running errands on my lunch break and driving around downtown. On my way back to work I was stopped at a light. I was the first car in line so I was right up front when I noticed a jogger crossing in the cross-walk. Mostly I only noticed her because she was dressed so oddly for August outdoor activities. She had a hat and sunglasses, normal, but she had on some kind of dark brown velvety looking dress/shirt. It looked like an extra large shirt that you would wear to sleep in or something. I thought this was rather odd and extremely hot and as I was pondering this while glancing at the jogger I noticed that the back of the large shirt would flop up and down rhythmically with her jogging. What I did not expect was the fact that this jogger was out jogging without any underwear on. YIKES! With each step her shirt was flopping up and exposing her rear end to the world for a brief second. Maybe I don’t do enough outdoor exercising, but this seems an odd training outfit. I do wonder if going without underwear would ventilate the heat absorbed from wearing a dark colored, velvet material - so maybe the outfit makes complete sense, hmmm?

** No photographs will be supplied with this post

May 17, 2010

Rebel without a clue

Mini-golf is a FANTASTIC activity. An entire family can gather together and hit a ball at windmills and giant octopi and laugh as a fake foot kicks the ball far away from the whole. But then, some people are serious about putt-putt. I went a few weeks back with the maximum group size (according to the course rules posted all over the entrance) 6 people. This was a serious course; no huge animals, nothing spinning whatsoever, and in their place… water hazards –for reals- and sand traps -thick carpet. It really was half way between a putt-putt course and practicing on the greens. The course rules, which my sister read thoroughly so my niece would hear, included do not swing the clubs hard, play the holes in consecutive order, one player must finish the hole before the next can start, if it takes more than six swings you forfeit the hole, and do not enter the water features to retrieve balls.

The first thing I figured out during the game was that my niece plays golf FAST. None of the rest of us could keep up with her; she was burning through the course at such a rapid clip. Some of the rules were a little more difficult for her to keep in mind. When she swings a club, she swings it! Not a huge problem, except that the ball ricocheted off a rock feature and into the middle of the pond between holes three and four. Oops! No problem, since the ball was just a bit out of reach of our clubs in the water, I just ran up and grabbed a new purple ball from the shop. We played five or so more holes till we got to a tricky one. It was a straight green with three potential holes at the opposite end, which apparently dropped the ball down to another green a bit further away with one more hole to hit the ball into. My nice decided to go up the middle and then ran to the next green and waited for the ball to come out of one of the tubes, but it never showed up. Another lost ball! Was it stuck in there? We all tried to get the ball to come out, but to no avail. We checked every inch of the green and realized that the second level hole descended to another green with the flag – so we checked every inch of that green too, but nothing. My niece was distraught! This is the worst! Two lost balls, yikes. Well, none of us wanted to taint the putting experience for this little cutie, so we all flew into action to try and help. My mom offered her own ball so my niece could start the hole over and hit it towards one of the other two holes at the beginning and I stripped my shoes off and rolled up my pant legs to venture in the water after the first ball that had disappeared there earlier – making sure no one was watching. My niece made her way to the lower green with my mom’s ball and was finally ready to hit it into the single hole on that green when I was throwing the first ball out of the slimy-bottomed, man-made pond. Grateful for not slipping in the pond, I walked back over to sit on the grass and put my shoes back on my feet. My niece had just sunk a put into the flag and went over to collect her ball – low and behold there were two balls sitting in the hole! The entire time she had hit a hole-in-one and we were searching in all the wrong spots for the ball. Putting day saved.

This brings up an important point I would like to point out to the putt-putt world at large. How is anyone supposed to know where the balls are going to go once they disappear down a tube? There’s got to be some sort of graphic posted at the beginning of the hole. We had no idea where any of the tubes came out, so how are we supposed to know which one to aim for when teeing off? For an upscale putt-putt course they had some significant drawbacks. I guess I broke the rules for nothing, but it only counts if you get caught, or fall on your keester in the water, so it’s all good.

February 26, 2010

Practice Practice Practice
People have told me practice makes perfect my whole life and I’ve, for the most part, believed them – but no more. No, it doesn’t matter how many first dates I go on, I’m never going to be perfect at it. I don’t know where general awkwardness fits in the nature vs. nurture discussion so I’m not sure if I can blame my parents or not. I could have inherited it through my genes, but I don’t know which parent I would have inherited it from, since they both seem perfectly fine with meeting people and conversing.
My most recent experience wasn’t really that bad I guess. I have learned from some previous mistakes and therefore avoided talking about poo for 30 minutes. Yes, this time I’m sure the poo conversation didn’t last any longer than five minutes. IMPROVEMENT – but not perfection. The fact is I’m not sure how poo comes up in so many conversations with practical strangers, since if I’m not on a date I hardly ever talk about it with strangers or friends. I suppose there are worse things I could talk about… politics…, past relationships…, tampons…, the very scary marriage discussion while tearfully bearing your testimony. Really I guess a little poo isn’t all that bad.
The worst part for me is, of course, the last 5-10 minutes when I have to get out of the car, walk to the door, and stand around trying to make conversation till we have the awkward hug and part ways. I barely touch people I do know, but I certainly don’t like touching people I don’t know. That’s one of my main objections to dancing – waddling around with some random person with your faces only a foot and a half apart at the most, sometimes even less! How uncomfortable! In fact, since I don’t dance often I was going to check that distance with a coworker of mine, but was uncomfortable at the thought of being that close with even someone I know pretty well and decided just to make up numbers for distance that sounded legitimate.
In the end, I know deep in my heart that I will never be GOOD at first dates. Maybe it is just unnatural for me to interact with humans on the first go round. I need at least three or eight or twelve shots.